Johnson County Metro

Police: Iowa City shop owner accused customer of being a terrorist

IOWA CITY — The owner of an Iowa City auto repair business was arrested Monday after police say he accused a customer of being a terrorist.

According to an Iowa City police criminal complaint, around 4 p.m. Jan. 8, 47-year-old Chad A. Cermak was at his business, Cermak Automotive, 1220 Gilbert Court, providing service to a customer. Police said Cermak made multiple comments to the customer, including whether he was Muslim, a terrorist or a suicide bomber.

Cermak allegedly asked the customer if he was wearing a bomb vest.

“Are you going to blow up my place of business?” Cermak allegedly asked the man.

Police said the customer attempted to end the conversation multiple times, but Cermak persisted. The customer told police he was “offended, in disbelief, and he felt alarmed and annoyed” by Cermak’s comments.

Cermak was arrested and faces one count of third-degree harassment, a simple misdemeanor.

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